Everything grows still.
Hyrum was a man of action; he knew how to clearly discern
right from wrong. What we can learn from him, is that loyalty comes first and
that entails putting God first in our lives. He never shirked his duties and
was willing to lend a hand and recourse to the building of Zion. Moroni in the book
of Mormon is described as a very righteous man. Hyrum Smith is up there with Moroni.
The author had the pleasure of visiting Carthage Jail. The bullet that shot
Hyrum through the door is still clearly visible, though they stained the door
to preserve it. Whenever visualizing the scene, there is placed Hyrum in by the
door. Seeing him brace up against it and the mob men trying to get in. When
splinters of wood shoot out from the door and Hyrum falls dead. Imagining,
Joseph’s heart falling as he looks at his lifelong friend and brother on the wooden
floor. The prophet is shot and proclaims his final words. “O Lord, my God!” A crash.
Glass and blood fall on the ground below. The prophet’s testimony sealed.
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Lessons we can learn from Hyrum Smith
“And again, verily I say unto you, blessed is my servant
Hyrum Smith; for I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart,
and because he loveth that which is right before me, saith the Lord.” (D&C
June 27, 1844 would be a tragic day for many of the early
saints. Joseph, Hyrum, William Richards, and John Taylor were imprisoned in the
infamous Carthage jail in Carthage, Missouri. Once again, the prophet and his
brother found themselves falsely accused and waiting for trial. That day,
Joseph had asked Hyrum to sing his favorite hymn, A poor wayfaring man of
grief, to lighten the atmosphere of their dreary cell. A few hours later a
gunshot was hear outside. This wasn’t the first time a mob had come to the
jail, but there was more this time. “In less than two minutes, they overcame
feigned resistance from the Greys, rushed upstairs, and fired through the
closed door. Hyrum, shot first, died instantly. John Taylor, an apostle, tried
to escape out a window and was shot five times, but survived to later become
the Church’s third President. Only Willard Richards, another apostle, survived
unharmed. Trying to go out the window to deflect attention from the two
survivors inside, Joseph Smith was hit in the chest and collarbone with two
shots from the open doorway and two more from outside the window. His final
words as he fell to the ground outside the jail were, “O Lord, my
God!” That day, many latter-day saint families mourned the loss of not
only their beloved prophet, but also the patriarch. Though it might have seemed
to the mob that by killing Joseph, it would put an end to the Mormon religion,
they were proven wrong. If anything, it strengthened them. The Latter-day Saint
church continues to prosper, because of faithful and righteous people.
Over the span of forty-four years, Hyrum was a man of
many titles in the early church. He was baptized June 1829 by Joseph in New
York. 1830 he was ordained a priest and from 1830 to 1831 was today’s
equivalent of a branch president, and lead a small group of saints in
Colsville, NY. He later moved to Kirkland, Ohio and was ordained a high priest
after the Holy Order of God. This part of his life seemed fast paced, because
soon after Hyrum was ordained a high priest, he was called to serve a mission
to Missouri with a John Murdock. This was before the tensions and imprisonment
in Liberty jail. He was a bishop’s counselor to Newel K. Whitney and in 1834
accepted the call to join Zion’s Camp. A large expeditionary force gathered by Joseph
Smith in concordance to a revelation he received to free the saints in Clay
County Missouri from Missourian mobs. Zion’s Camp failed in its original
endeavor but ended up being the Lord’s way of choosing righteous men to hold
leadership positions in the church. Many of the first Apostles and Seventies
were apart of Zion’s Camp. Hyrum in all his stewardships remained stalwart.
1839, Hyrum was with Joseph, Sidney Rigdon and three other brethren in Liberty
jail. They were imprisoned there for almost four months. Due to rising
agitations from local authorities and rabble-rousers, Hyrum and company were
falsely charged and imprisoned in Missouri to wait for trial. “Four-foot-thick
stone walls, a six-foot ceiling, and constant harassment by guards caused
Joseph and his companions to describe the structure as “hell surrounded with
demons.” There, they were hideously mistreated and deprived of basic
necessities. This event could be described as both Hyrum’s and Joseph’s darkest
hours. They eventually were allowed to escape and returned home.
mid-fall 1826, Hyrum married his first wife Jerusha Barden. They had six
children together and later Jerusha died October 1837. Hyrum would then marry
Mary Fielding in December 1837. Mary Fielding would give birth to Joseph F.
Smith, who would later become the sixth president of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints. Joseph F. Smith’s son, Joseph Fielding Smith, Hyrum’s
grandson, would become the tenth president of the church. A son from Hyrum’s
first marriage, John Smith, would later in his life become patriarch of the
church like his father. At the implementation of polygamy as recorded in Doctrine
and Covenants section 132, at first Hyrum did not approve. Much like his
brother Joseph and many others, they had to receive their own witnesses that
polygamy was the Lord’s will. The author had difficulties finding exactly how
many wives Hyrum had, due to how many inaccurate and slanderous sources there
Russel Ballard, now President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said this
of Hyrum in general conference talk, “Firm as the Pillars in Heaven” in the October
1995 Saturday Morning Session. “Through it all, Hyrum stood firm. He knew the
course his life would take, and he consciously chose to follow it. To Joseph,
Hyrum became companion, protector, provider, confidant, and eventually joined
him as a martyr. Unjust persecution engulfed them throughout their lives.
Although he was older, Hyrum recognized his brother’s divine mantle. While he
gave Joseph strong counsel on occasion, Hyrum always deferred to his younger
brother.” Hyrum was truly a righteous and humble man.
So, who was this legendary man known
as Hyrum Smith? Hyrum was born early February in the year 1800 in Vermont to Joseph
Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. Both very religious and hard-workers. Hyrum had
an older brother, Alvin Smith, who at the time of his birth was almost two
years of age. The Smiths at the time, owned a 68-acre parcel of land in Vermont
and they were no stranger to hardships. The Smith family were often stricken
with disease, poor growing seasons, and plagued by financial turmoil. By the
year 1803, the Smiths had a daughter, named Sophronia, and a risky business
store venture had failed, due to theft. The Smiths, now with no money, had to
sell their land to sustain their growing family. Luckily, Lucy Mack’s father
allowed her family a place of residence for a time. There, the prophet Joseph
Smith, Jr. was born. The Smith family would then go on to move eight more times
in a span of ten years. Then, later in 1817 moved to Palmyra, New York. Where in
1820, Joseph Smith, Jr. would have his first vision and would receive his call
as a prophet of God in the latter-days. If you were in Hyrum’s shoes, would you
believe that your four-teen year old brother saw God and Jesus Christ?
the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you find
many extraordinary examples of Christ-like people. The prophet Joseph Smith,
chosen by God to usher in the Dispensation of the Fullness of times, led a
small band of followers in the 1800’s. One can imagine the pressure Joseph must
have felt having this large responsibility. Joseph wasn’t alone thankfully.
Many of the early saints and his family helped Joseph in his calling as prophet
of the Lord. Using many of their own resources to help build the kingdom of God
on earth today. These people would continue to help Joseph even during the dark
imprisonment in Carthage Jail. Where the prophet and some of his closest friends
were assassinated by mobs and those that died became martyrs. One of these
close friends of Joseph, was his own older brother, Hyrum Smith. Hyrum had
proven himself time and time again throughout his life that he was a righteous
man of God. He would continue this cycle by loyally following his younger
brother Joseph to death.